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'Humorous' Family Holiday Photo Is Far from Funny for Many on the Web

The Short of It

A Louisiana family's Christmas card that was meant as a joke is being taken as anything but by many people online.

The Lowdown

In the controversial photo, taken by Hannah Hawkes Photography, parents and three children hold a sign that says "Peace on Earth." In stark contrast to those words is the tape that is placed over the mouths of the mom and her two little girls. Meanwhile, the father's mouth is not covered with tape, nor is his son's, and the young boy is flashing the thumbs up sign.

Many say the image on the holiday greeting actually promotes violence against women, and they've taken to the Internet to blast the photographer.

After receiving comments from angry viewers as far away as Germany, she posted this message in her defense:

"After being silent, now isn't that ironic, I would like to speak! I have been called every name in the book, and have received some very hateful and vulgar comments and messages. I would like to say that as a female I do NOT and have never promoted violence to women! I do not support abuse, or the degradation of women. My controversial photo was taken by request by the family, and was in no way meant to promote abuse. This photo was taken with humor in mind, and was meant as a comical Christmas photo. I personally know this family, and have known them for many years. They are not abusive to their children in any shape or form. Also, I would like to add that no one was harmed during the process! So everyone have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and MAY GOD BLESS you and yours!"

But commenters are still intent on voicing their fury over the photo. One comment reads, "As a female I do not find this funny. It promotes the stereotype that women talk too much and should just shut up. You are complicit in this stereotyping which does nothing to improve gender equality. Just because the client/friend asked for it, doesn't mean you have to do it."

The Upshot

Not everyone who has seen this image is upset. Some commenters have supported the family, saying people need to lighten up and not take everything so seriously.

My take: If the image was meant as a political statement about the mistreatment of women worldwide, it would have been powerful. But it's not, so it's not funny. Sorry.

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